The Value of Cooperation
And let not your hatred of a folk who (once) stopped your going to the inviolable place of worship seduce you to transgress; but help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty. Help not one another unto sin and transgression. (AL-MA’IDA: 2)
Therefore, treat not the orphan with harshness, Nor repulse the petitioner (unheard). (AL-DUHA: 9-10)
But he hath made no haste on the path that is steep. And what will explain to thee the path that is steep? (It is:) freeing the bondman; Or the giving of food in a day of privation To the orphan with claims of relationship, Or to the indigent (down) in the dust. Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion. (AL-BALAD: 11-17)
The Concept of Cooperation:
Cooperation, as a moral value, indicates the group as a whole assisting one another in carrying out a specific function or achieving a common goal. Cooperation is achieved by considerate patience which causes us to willingly accept the constructive criticism of others, being neither dismissive of nor annoyed by the advice of others. Cooperation entails acknowledging the value of every human being and constantly behaving towards one and all in a positive, respectful manner.
We need cooperation in order to accomplish joint tasks which rely upon the contributions of various groups or teams. Training in this particular trait may be accomplished by the practice of preparing and eating meals together. Similarly, cooperation can be drilled in by means of group sports, by assisting others in times of distress and difficulty, and by providing for their needs during emergencies.
Cooperation with others was one of the traits the Prophet was known for prior to his commission:
The Messenger of God, even prior to his commission as a Prophet, was characterized by certain traits, among them: honesty, trustworthiness, maintaining good relations with kith and kin, as well as assisting the weak, the orphan, and those who had been treated unjustly. All of these moral traits express cooperation and the putting forward of effort to assist those in need. Indeed, the Prophet was a party to the compact of Al-Fudool with Bani Hashim wherein they swore by God that they would stand by those whose rights had been transgressed against until things were made right by them, just as they committed themselves to sharing in provisions.
Regarding this pact, Hesaid, “It would not please me to acquire, by virtue of the pact I entered into at the home of Ibn Judan, the finest wealth and cattle imaginable, if such a transaction involved me in betrayal.”
His wife, Khadija, described him s, saying, “Never could it be so! Take heart! For, by God Almighty, God would never humiliate you! By God, you are a keeper of good relations among your kith and kin, a speaker of truth; you are one who spends of his own wealth upon the weak and the orphaned, who takes care of the penniless, who makes the guest feel welcome, and who assists those with legitimate claims.”
Her words embody the meaning of cooperation between a husband and his wife as well as demonstrate her support for him during stressful times. Lady Khadija sought to uplift the Prophet rather than drag him down or disbelieve him. Indeed, she assisted him by means of money and effort.
Forms of Cooperation and the Muslim’s Duty to Participate in all its Manifestations:
By way of Jabir Ibn Abdullah, who reported that the Messenger of God said, “Every good deed is charity.”
This is an expansion of the circle of productivity in order that it may encompass every beneficial deed appertaining to a human being or an animal, the Prophet having guaranteed a reward to any such as performs such deeds.
By way of Al Miqdam Ibn Madiykarib Al Zubaidi, reporting on the Messenger of God, who said, “No man earns anything which is superior to earnings garnered by the work of his own hands, and whatever a man spends upon himself, his spouse, his child, or his servant is considered an act of charity.”
This shows that cooperation entails work, for one must first earn; only then is he able to spend and provide assistance. Spending upon the members of one’s family is one of the many forms taken by cooperation which renders the person who participates in it worthy of a reward, for it is considered to be charity and a means of drawing nearer to God.
By way of Anis Ibn Malik, who related that the Messenger of God said, “Whoever is desirous of having his provisions broadened and his lifetime extended, let him maintain good relationships with kith and kin.”
This exemplifies the Prophet ’sencouragement towards establishing and maintaining good familial relationships, showing how it is important to be aware of the situations in which your family members find themselves, helping them out during times of trouble and need. That he accomplished by establishing rewards for participating in these sorts of activities which are attractive to everybody, namely, enrichment and longevity.
By way of Abu Musa Al Ashaari, who reported that the Prophet said, “Every Muslim is obliged to give alms.” Then it was said, “What about such as haven’t anything?” to which Heresponded, “He ought to put his hands to work in order to benefit himself and give in charity.” Then, it was said, “And what if he is unable so to do?” and Heresponded, “He should aid such as are in dire need.” Then, it was said, “And what if he is unable so to do?” to which he responded, “He should enjoin upon others what is good and right.” Then it was said, “And if he doesn’t do that?” to which he said, “He should abstain from engaging in evil, for so doing is –no doubt- a form of charity.”
This shows that it is among the Muslim’s duties to assist and cooperate with others. In this example the Prophet enumerates various levels of charitableness, stratifying them from apex to nadir, respectively, as the points where individuals exert themselves by working in order to secure benefits for their selves and others and the point at which individuals merely shield others from evil.
By way of Abu Huraira, who said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘Every pure-being from among mankind must engage in charitableness during every day upon which the sun rises.’ He said, ‘Judging fairly between two persons is a form of charity. Assisting a man in mounting or loading his provisions upon his beast of burden is a charitable act.’ Then, he said, ‘A good word is charity,’ as well as, ‘Every step a person takes as he makes his way to performing a prayer is considered an act of charity, as is the removal of annoyances from the paths traversed by mankind.’”
By way of Abu Qatada, who sought to reclaim a debt from one who hid himself away, then, when he found him, the one who owed him said, “I am undergoing hardship.” So, he said, “Do you swear by God that it is so?” and he replied, “Indeed, I swear by God that it is so.” He then said, “I heard the Messenger of God state, ‘Whoever would like to be saved from one of the disasters of Resurrection Day, let him grand respite to a person who is suffering hardship or relieve him of his burden.’”
This is an example of the Prophet making use of comparison between contradistinctive states; the state of this world and the state of the hereafter; the state of expending and the state of being rewarded. He made use of this tool as a means to encourage working under the constraints of moral values.
By way of Abu Huraira, who said, “The Prophet said, ‘The person who strives to provide for the needs of widows and poor is like he who exerts himself by striving in the path of God, or the person who stands in prayer all night and engages in fasting all day.”
By way of Anis Ibn Malik, who said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘There is no Muslim who plants a seed or sows a crop from which the birds or human beings or beasts derive sustenance except that, thereby, an act of charity is recorded in his favor.”
Abu Dharr reported, “Incumbent upon every soul, in every day upon which the sun rises, is a charitable act which he must expend upon his own soul.” I said, “Oh Messenger of God, from what shall I spend in charity when I have nothing whatsoever in the way of wealth and possessions?” He responded, “It is so due to the fact that charity is recorded every time God is magnified, glorified, praised, said to be the only being worthy of worship, or asked forgiveness of. It is so because, whenever goodness is enjoined or ill-behavior is prohibited, or, even when such a seemingly trivial act as the removal of a thorn, a bone, or rock from the pathways traversed by humankind is undertaken, it is recorded as a charitable act. When a person takes it upon himself to guide a blind person, or to make the effort to impart comprehension upon such an individual as is hard of hearing and unable to speak, or, when you, knowing where it is to be found, take somebody who is seeking guidance to the place he needs to arrive at in order to have his need met; when you strive with might and mane to alleviate the suffering of someone who has cried out for help; when you lift, employing the strength of your arms in assisting the weak; whenever you engage in any of the aforementioned actions it falls under the category of charity spent by yourself upon yourself. Indeed, when you engage in conjugal relations with your spouse, you earn a reward.’ Abu Dhar queried, ‘How can I earn a reward for satisfying my desire?’ to which the Messenger of God responded, ‘Have you thought about this; if you had a son who had achieved maturity and you were expecting good things of who then died, would you have expectations of him?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ Hesaid, ‘Okay; but, did you create him? No; God created him. Did you cause him to be guided? No; God granted him guidance. Did you provide his sustenance? No; it was God who granted his provisions.’ He then said, ‘Such it is; therefore, place your seed in its approved vessel and spare it from being placed in an unapproved vessel and, if it be God's will, God will grant life while, if it be God's will, God will cause death, and you? You will be rewarded.’”
By way of Abdullah Ibn Amru, who related that a man asked the Prophet s, “What is the best part of Islam?” He said, “The feeding of food and bestowing of the greeting of peace upon those whom you know as well as those whom you do not know.”
This is an example of cooperation in the form of maintaining civility and good communications with others regardless of whether or not you personally know them. You ought to offer them both food and a peaceful greeting, which indicates that the goodness of the Muslim ought to encompass mankind in general. The Prophet did not mention an object of the verb “to feed;” rather, he left it as a general commandment. You may feed a human being or an animal; one who is at close proximity or one who is far away; a Muslim or a polytheist. All of these things are expressions of the essential goodness of Islam. Here you can see the importance of linguistic structures as regards moral and ethical values and how they can be adapted to various dimensions and applied to various concepts.
Al Bara Ibn Aazib said, “The Prophet enjoined upon us seven and prohibited us from seven. He ordered us to visit the ill, participate in funeral processions, bless those who sneeze, fulfill our oaths, assist those whose rights have been transgressed, spread peace, and that we must respond to invitations. He issued a prohibition to us regarding golden rings, silver vessels, the use of silken garments between a camel’s saddle and its rider, cloth lined with silk which was made in Egypt, embroidery, and brocade.”
This shows the Prophet ordering us to visit the sick and follow funeral processions, which are practices engendering empathy within a society, giving a sense of interdependence and cooperation at achieving affection and peace at the societal level. Similarly, it inculcates spiritual discipline within the Muslim which allows him to engage in humility and simplicity as regards the implements of daily life which he makes use of in eating and drinking, all of which creates distance between him and extravagance and arrogance.
By way of Al Saib Ibn Abdullah, who said, “I was taken to the Prophet on the day that Mecca was conquered. Uthman Ibn Affan and Zuhair took me, and they began to lavish praises upon him until the Messenger of God said, ‘Do not tell me who he is, for he was my companion during the Days of Ignorance.’ He said, ‘Yes, Messenger of God, and a fine companion you were.’ He said, ‘Oh Saib, take appraisal of the morals and manners you used to conduct yourself by during the Days of Ignorance and transfer them over to your morals and manners under Islam; take care of guests, treat with dignity orphans, and behave well towards your neighbor.’”
In this manner did the Prophet establish an emotional connection with that companion, by reminding him of the friendship which they had enjoyed long ago, during the Days of Ignorance. He reminded him that he had, even then, been possessed of excellent morals and manners, taking part in good deeds and providing assistance to neighbors and orphans. Then, Hetold him that Islam demanded the same sort of actions of him.
Cooperation as expressed in the Sharing of Meals:
By way of Salama Ibn Amr, who said, “The provisions available to the people became straightened and they were suffering great poverty, so, they approached the Messenger of God regarding slaughtering their camel and he gave them permission so to do. Umar met up with them and they told him about it, so he said, ‘What will they have left once the camel is gone?’ Then, he went to the Messenger of God and said, ‘Oh Messenger of God, what will they have left once the camel is gone?’ and the Messenger of God said, ‘They will be able to call upon humankind to come to them with whatever provisions are beyond their own needs.’ Then, he spread out a mat and put them on it,, .and the Messenger of God stood up and prayed, blessing it, then, he called the people to bring their vessels and they filled them up until they were done, when the Messenger of God said, ‘I bear witness that there is no deity other than God alone, and that I am the Messenger of God. ’”
This shows how cooperation and group participation in working and eating gives rise to the blessing of and produces increases in provisions, both of which tend to encourage people to cooperate and engage in gatherings.
By way of Abu Musa, who said, “The Prophet said, ‘The Asharites, when the battles produced widows, or, when their dependents in Medina encountered scarcity of foodstuffs, were in the habit of gathering together everything they had in a single piece of cloth. Then, they take equal portions of it amongst themselves, off of a single serving dish. They and Iare cut of the same cloth.’”
By way of Abu Huraira, who said, “The Messenger of God used to say, ‘Portions of food which are meant for two individuals will suffice three, just as, similarly, food which is apportioned for three is enough to feed four.’”
By way of Ibn Abbas, who said, “The Messenger of God said, ‘The person of faith is not such as satiates his appetite for food while his next-door neighbor endures hunger.’”
Manners Appropriate to Visits and Seeking Permission:
Visits are a vital component to the strengthening of social ties among mankind. The Prophet laid down parameters regarding how we ought to conduct ourselves while engaging therein, in order to ensure optimal results as embodied, for instance, in the generation of genuine affection and companionship among human beings. Such morals and manners place the interactions among mankind upon a dignified footing permeated by polite civility, all of which is reflected in the morals and manners of individual persons.
Shariah codes of conduct encourage us to obtain our would-be hosts’ permission prior to the visit, lest we startle them. Likewise, the Shariah prohibits us from entering upon other persons without their permission. ” O ye who believe! enter not houses other than your own, until ye have asked permission and saluted those in them: that is best for you, in order that ye may heed (what is seemly). If ye find no one in the house, enter not until permission is given to you: if ye are asked to go back, go back: that makes for greater purity for yourselves: and Allah knows well all that ye do.”
When seeking permission to enter, you may do so up to three times in one instance. You will either be granted permission or denied it, and, should you be turned away, you should go back to whence you came, neither grouchy nor angry. Abu Saeed Al Khudary tells us, “Once, while I was in the company of the Ansar, Abu Musa arrived, seemingly upset. He told me, ‘I sought Umar’s permission three separate times, but nobody extended that permission, so, I left.’ He asked, ‘What stopped you?’ and I replied, ‘I sought permission thrice, but it wasn’t granted to me, so, I went away. The Prophet instructed us, saying, “If any of you seeks permission thrice, but is not given that permission, he ought to leave.” He then said, ‘By God, you shall certainly be made to offer up solid proof regarding that rule,’ and he addressed the crowd, asking, ‘Is there a single one of you who has ever heard anything regarding the promulgation of such an injunction by the Prophet ?’ whereupon Ubay Ibn Kaab interjected, ‘By God, there is none, other than the youngest among us, who stands by you in this matter.’ I, then the youngest among them, stood by his side, afterwards informing Umar that the Prophet had, indeed, said such a thing.’”
The Shariah established a specific time-frame during which visits and the concomitant requests for permission to engage there-in were to be limited, enabling individuals to freely relax, as visitors were not to be expected other than in the appointed times. God u said ” O ye who believe! let those whom your right hands possess, and the (children) among you who have not come of age ask your permission (before they come to your presence), on three occasions: before morning prayer; the while ye doff your clothes for the noonday heat; and after the late-night prayer: these are your three times of undress: outside those times it is not wrong for you or for them to move about attending to each other: Thus does Allah make clear the Signs to you: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.”
The Islamic injunctions regarding how one ought to conduct oneself while visiting as well as how one ought to seek permission so to do rather than just barge in on whoever it pleases him so to do are, by their very nature, means of ensuring the privacy of the home and the liberties of its inhabitants. They have the effect of rendering it both easy and simple for individuals to behave in conformity with the values of cooperatively helping one another out.
Cooperating with Others in Disastrous Times:
Bilal was asked, “How did the Messenger of God u spend his money?” He said, “Whenever he had anything, I was the one to whom it was entrusted –from the time he was raised up by God until he departed this world-. He was such that, if an individual came to him, submissively, and he saw that he was lacking clothing, he would give me the command, and I would borrow money with which to purchase a cloak and clothe him in it, and feed him. This continued until a certain man from among the polytheists confronted me, saying, ‘Bilal, I have plenty, so, do not borrow from anybody other than me.’ So, I followed his instructions so to do until, one day, as I performed ablution and got up to make the call to prayer, I suddenly found that polytheist and a band of merchants were surrounding me. When he saw me he said, ‘Hey! Abyssinian!’ and I responded ‘Hello, he who seeks me out.’ Then, he confronted me with an ugly expression upon his face, saying to me words of enormous import. He asked me, ‘Are you award of the length of time which stands between you and the end of this month?’ I said, ‘It is not long.’ He went on, ‘There remains between you and it a mere four days, at which point I shall seize you in consideration of the sum you owe me, and I shall put you to work as a shepherd of flocks, reducing you to the position you previously held.’ That feeling in the soul which afflicts people took hold of me, until, after I had prayed in darkness and the Messenger of God u returned to his family, I asked permission to see him and granted it to me. I said, ‘Oh Messenger of God, I swear by your father and my mother, that polytheist with whom I have amassed a debt said thus and such to me. Neither you nor I have anything with which to satisfy the debt, and he has threatened me. Therefore do I seek your permission to flee towards the environs of some of those generous men who have heretofore become Muslims, until such time as God u provides His Messengerwith my ransom.’ Then I set off until, when I arrived at my dwelling, I made ready my sword, spear, shoes, and protective gear, awaiting the first light of dawn, intent upon departing at daybreak. All of the sudden I saw some man running towards me, calling out, ‘Oh Bilal! Answer the summons of the Messenger of God s!’ Upon hearing that, I wasted no time and went directly to him s. As if out of nowhere, four goods-laden beasts of burden had appeared, and I began to beg his pardon when Heinterjected, ‘Take heart! God u has sent you what you need in order to make restitution!’ He then continued, saying, ‘Did you not see the four beasts of burden, laden with merchandise?’ I replied, ‘Of course,’ and Hesaid, ‘They are all yours; the animals as well as the merchandise upon them. They are loaded with clothing and food. A generous man made a gift of them to me, but they were meant for you. Take possession of them and pay-off your debts,’ which is what I did”
By way of Abdullah Ibn Amru, who informed us that the Prophet dictated a document by which the Meccan immigrants and the Medinan Ansar were bound to help one-another out in making monetary restitution to aggrieved parties under circumstances wherein such parties were entitled to compensation for their losses. Also, it bound them to, with sincerity of purpose, collectively ransom those among them who had been taken captive, and it placed upon the Muslims the duty to mend any disputes among themselves and maintain good relationships with one another.
By way of Abdullah Ibn Jafar, “…..so, he gave them time, then, he thrice gave Jafar’s family the chance to approach them, after which point Hewent to them and said, ‘Cry no more over your brother after today or tomorrow. Call to my presence my brother’s two sons.’” He continued, saying, “We were then brought before him as though we were hatchlings, and he said, ‘Summon a barber before me.’ One was brought who, then, shaved each of our heads, and Hesaid, ‘As for Muhammad, he resembles our uncle, Abu Talib. As for Abdullah, his appearance and conduct resemble mine.’ He then took hold of my hand, imploring, ‘Dear God, grant Jafar a successor in his family and Abdullah success in his dealings’ Thrice had he uttered those words when our mother arrived and harshly reminded himthat we were orphans, to which he responded, ‘How is it that you fear poverty will seize them when I am their protector in this world and the Hereafter?’”
By way of Asma Bint Umaish, who said, “At the time when Jafar and his companions were wounded I had gone to see the Messenger of God after beginning the process of curing forty pelts, preparing my dough, bathing my children, and seeing that they were clean and properly groomed. The Messenger of God then said, ‘Bring Jafar’s children to me,’ and I brought them to him, whereupon he smelled them as his eyes welled up with tears, so I said, ‘Oh Messenger of God, I implore you, what has brought on this crying? Have you received some news regarding Jafar and his companions?’ He responded, ‘Yes; they were killed today.’” She continued, “I then got up and started screaming, and the women-folk gathered around me. As the Messenger of God departed in order to return to his family, he announced, ‘Do not neglect to prepare a meal for Jafar’s family. Indeed, they are overwhelmed by what has happened to the head of their household.’”
By way of Abdullah Ibn Jafar, who said, “When the news of Jafar’s death reached the Messenger of God he said, ‘Prepare food for Jafar’s family, for they are occupied with other matters.’”
Recognizing the Contributions of Others, ‘Though they be Small:
By way of Abu Huraira, who reported that the Prophet said, “Oh ye Muslim women, let none of you show contempt for her neighbor, even if with a goat’s hoof.”
The prohibition here is aimed at the woman who would make a gift. That is, she ought not to hold back from bestowing gifts or charity upon her neighbor due to her own feeling that what she has to offer is negligible and her neighbor will be insulted by the sparseness of her gift. Rather, she ought to give out of that with which it is possible for her to part, even if it be a negligible contribution, such as the hoof of a goat.
By way of Abu Said Al Khudary, who said, “Once, while we were on a journey with the Prophet s, a man who was mounted upon a conveyance of his approached,” he said, “and he kept turning his gaze from right to left, until the Prophet remarked, ‘Whoever among you has with him a conveyance which is beyond his needs, let him turn it over to such as has no conveyance. Also, whoever among you has more provisions than he needs, let him turn that excess over to such as has no provisions.’” He said, “He then went on to make mention of the various forms of wealth until he had mentioned so many types that we came to the conclusion that none of us had the right to be in possession of what was beyond our needs.”
Cooperation between Husbands and Wives:
By way of Zaynab, the wife of Abdullah, who said, “I was in the mosque when I saw the Messenger of God tell the women, ‘Give charity, even if you must do so out of your ornaments.’ As Zaynab was in the habit of spending money upon Abdullah and the orphans who lived in her apartments, she said to Abdullah, “Ask the Messenger of God if it counts, when I spend upon you and the orphans who live with me, as charity on my part.” And he said, “Ask the Messenger of God yourself.” So, I set out for the Prophet and encountered a woman from among the Ansar at his doorway who needed the same thing I needed. Bilal passed by us and we said, ‘Ask the Prophet if the money which I spend upon my husband and the orphans who live with me suffices me.’ We told him not to disclose our presence. He entered and asked him, then Heinquired, ‘Who asks?’ and he said, ‘Zaynab,’ and he asked, ‘Which Zaynab?’ so he said, ‘The wife of Abdullah,’ and Heanswered in the affirmative, stating, ‘She gets two rewards; the reward of maintaining good relationships with family and the reward for spending in charity.’”
The Striking of Parables Regarding Giving and Cooperating:
By way of Abu Huraira, who said that he heard the Messenger of God say, “The similitude of he who spends in a miserly way as compared with he who engages in spending generously is as that of two men. Each of them is clothed in an iron garment from his chest to his neck. As far as the one who generously spends goes, he spends nothing except that his garment expands and covers him better until such time as his skin is entirely encompassed and the tips of his fingers as well as his footprints are hidden. As far as the one who begrudgingly spends goes, he spends nothing except that each ring becomes tighter around him and he attempts to stretch them out, but they will not expand.
By way of Aisha, who tells us that some of the wives of the Prophet said to him, “Which one of us shall be the first to meet up with you?” and he responded, “She among you whose hand is longest.” We then took a reed and began to measure our arms therewith and found that Sawda had the longest hand of any of us. Afterwards, we came to know that the length of her hand was nothing other than her charity. She was, indeed, the one among us who met up with himmost quickly, and she loved to perform charitable acts.”
By way of Abu Huraira, who said, “I heard the Messenger of God state, ‘There were three men among the Children of Israel whom God intended to put to a test. One was a leper, another bald, and the third was blind. He sent an angel to each of them who, when he came to the leper, asked him, ‘What do you want more than anything else?’ and he responded, ‘A beautiful skin tone upon healthy skin, for mankind, indeed, does consider me to be a filthy creature.’ He then touched him and the leprosy vanished, being replaced with beautiful, healthy skin. The angel asked him, ‘What type of wealth is most dear to you?’ and he responded, ‘camels,’ or, perhaps he said, ‘cows.’ He was unsure of which, for, between the leper and the bald man, one of them responded ‘camels’ while the other said, ‘cows’. In any case, he was given a she-camel on the verge of giving birth, and it was said, ‘God has blessed you with this.’ Then, he went to the bald man and asked him ‘What do you want more than anything else?’ and he responded, ‘beautiful hair and that this condition I am suffering should depart from me, for the people have deemed me a filthy creature.’ So, the angel touched him and the condition disappeared, and he was given beautiful hair. He then asked, ‘What sort of wealth do you most covet?’ and he responded, ‘cows.’ So, he gave him a pregnant heifer and said, ‘God has blessed you with this.’ He then went to the blind man and said, ‘What do you desire more than anything else?’ He responded, ‘That God should return my eye-sight to me, so that I may use it to be aware of mankind.’ He touched him and God restored his eye-sight. Then, the angel asked him, ‘What sort of wealth is most precious to you?’ and he replied, ‘goats.’ So, he gave him a female goat on the verge of birthing her young. The various cattle given to each man multiplied until one man had a valley filled with camels, another had a valley filled with cows, and another had a valley filled with goats. Then, the angel came to the man who had been a leper in the shape and condition in which he had been at their first meeting, and he said, ‘I am a poor man who has become stranded in the mountains during his journey. No-one can hear my call today other than God and you. I beg of you, by he who endowed you with beautiful coloring, healthy skin, and wealth. I beg you to give me a camel, upon which I may complete my journey.’ He told him, ‘Many are they who would claim rights,’ at which point the angel said to him, ‘I feel like I know you. Weren’t you once a leper, outcast by mankind and impoverished, who received a grant from God?’ He responded, ‘I have inherited my fortune from a wealthy man.’ He told him, ‘If you are lying, God will transform you back into your previous condition.’ He then went to the man who had formerly been bald, in the shape and condition he had initially encountered him in. He told him the same story he had told the former leper and received the same response from him that had been offered to him by the former leper, then, he told him, ‘If it be that you are lying, God will transform you, once more, to your previous condition.’ Then, he went to the man who had been blind in the guise of a blind man, saying, ‘I am a poor man and a traveler who has lost his way among the mountains during his journey. There is none to offer me help today other than God, then, you.
I implore you, by he who restored your sight to you, a goat, in order that I may maintain myself by means of it during my journey.’ He answered him, saying, ‘I was a blind man until God restored to me my eyesight. I was impoverished, but He has made me wealthy. Take whatever you want. By God, I will not argue with you today over something which you seek to acquire in the name of God. ’ The angel then said, ‘Keep your wealth. You have merely been tested. God is pleased with you, while He is angry with your two companions.’
The Prophet ’sManner of Keeping Track of his Companions and Guaranteeing their Adherence to Moral Values:
By way of Abu Huraira, who said, “The Messenger of God asked, ‘Who, among you, awakened this morning and decided to fast?’ Abu Bakr responded, ‘I did.’ Then, Hesaid, ‘And who among you fed a poor person today?’ to which Abu Bakr again responded, ‘I did.’ Then Heasked, ‘And who, among you, has visited a sick person today?’ Abu Bakr again responded, ‘I did.’ There is no individual who does all of those things who does not enter Paradise.’”